May 9, 2019

Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes: 10 Signs Your Loved One is in Trouble

Elder abuse, particularly when it involves a patient in a nursing home, can be challenging to detect. If you are aware or suspect your loved one is being abused, contact a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.

What is medical malpractice?

The American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys defines medical malpractice as a deviation from standard care guidelines in which an injury is caused by negligence and results in major damage. Lawyers specializing in medical malpractice help you stand up against detrimental institutions and prevent them from causing more harm in the future.

The warning signs

Although many residents are well cared for, abuse is more prevalent than most people wish to believe, and caregivers perpetrate 75% of the cases of nursing home abuse.

If you are planning, or already have placed your loved one in a nursing home, there are some signs you should look out for to keep them safe. While not all patients with these symptoms have been subject to nursing home abuse, any indication should be cause for further investigation.

1. Change in behavior

If your loved one begins showing severe changes in behavior such as unusual mood swings, emotional outbursts, reclusiveness or a refusal to speak they might be a victim of abuse.

2. Unexplained weight loss and signs of dehydration 

If your loved one has lost significant weight in a short amount of time or is dehydrated, they may not eat or drink as often as they need. Extreme stress or anxiety can also be a cause of diminished appetite. They may also refuse to take their medication.

3. Bruises, cuts or other wounds

Does your loved one have any unexplained injuries like bruises, welts or cuts? This is one of the most obvious signs of danger.

4. The staff will not discuss your family member’s care

If the staff are unwilling or avoid discussing your loved one’s care with you, they may be trying to hide something.

5. Staffing issues

If the staff seems to be constantly disorganized and frazzled, your loved one may not be getting adequate care. A high staff turn-over may point to some underlying issues with the facility.

6. How do the staff communicate with other residents?

Are they kind, supportive and understanding? If not, there may be a heightened risk of mistreatment or even abuse.

7. The resident expresses concern

If your loved one mentions someone by name and how they don’t want to be cared by them, this may be a sign of mistreatment.

If your family member isn’t very talkative watch their body language as staff members come in the room. Do they seem afraid of anyone?

8. Calls aren’t being answered

If calls, made by you are going unanswered regularly, this may mean the staff is incapable of quality care.

9. Trust your intuition

Listen to your intuition. If you always have a bad feeling in the pit of your stomach when you visit, it may be time to research other facilities.

10. Unsanitary living conditions

If the living conditions are not up to par, the residents may not be receiving enough care or aide when it comes to their hygiene and other needs.

What to do next

Visit the facility on different days and times to see if the level of care varies and look for signs of neglect, like a strong urine odor in common rooms. Next, talk to the resident. Do they seem to have any concerns or problems?

If you still suspect a medical malpractice case involving an elderly person in Michigan, contact a medical malpractice lawyer immediately.

medical malpractice case involving an elderly person

Contact Attorney Eileen Kroll for a free consultation at 1-866-MICH LAW (1-866-642-4529). Attorney Kroll, in addition to being a lawyer, is a registered nurse who has been involved in medical malpractice law for more than 20 years.

Without the help of an experienced medical attorney, you run a high risk of having your case dismissed.

At Cochran Kroll & Associates, it is our mission to fight for your loved ones and proper medical treatment.

Tim is a writer and editor who earned his Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Maryland and calls Washington, D.C., home after spending most of his adult life in the country’s capital. Although Tim spent most of his post-college years in the restaurant industry, he became interested in writing about legal matters after he recently moved to Colombia. Today, Tim writes professionally about medical malpractice, drug policies, and workplace injuries. Tim is focused on curating his freelancing career and plans to work remotely for as long he can.

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